Falsifiability of evolution

From: bivalve (bivalve@mail.davidson.alumlink.com)
Date: Fri Sep 19 2003 - 18:43:32 EDT

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    Obviously this depends on the particular aspect of evolution and on the degree of falsification desired. One could always argue against a claim of falsification that we just have not yet observed something.

    The basic evolutionary process of change in organisms over time would be falsified if organisms showed no inheritable changes over time. However, organisms show such changes all the time, and from the looks of the fossil record, they have shown such changes all the time they existed.

    The claim of common descent of two organisms would be falsified if they showed no connections. All known organisms show extensive biochemical similarities, which as far as we know constitute only one of multiple possible ways of constructing life. E.g., a mirror image of all chiral molecules would presumably work. Many common morphological features likewise appear functionally unnnecessary. The fossil record provides numerous evidences of transitions. The order of appearance in the fossil record likewise corresponds well to evolutionary expectations. However, lack of common ancestry for one pair of organisms would not falsify it for another pair.

    The claim of abiogenesis via natural laws would be falsified if it could be shown that certain features of living organisms could not assemble by natural laws. Our knowledge of such features is so preliminary as to prevent falsification or verification.

        Dr. David Campbell
        Old Seashells
        University of Alabama
        Biodiversity & Systematics
        Dept. Biological Sciences
        Box 870345
        Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0345 USA

    That is Uncle Joe, taken in the masonic regalia of a Grand Exalted Periwinkle of the Mystic Order of Whelks-P.G. Wodehouse, Romance at Droitgate Spa


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